Interview of Priscilla Galasso

unnamed-5JAMIE: I think you started with us in 2012, not long after initiating your blog, scillagrace. Your life at that time was very much in transition and you had quite specific goals for yourself and your blog. Where do you find yourself after the passage of almost four years?

PRISCILLA: My blog began as a sort of online journal of self-discovery. I had been widowed in 2008 and began a new relationship within the year. By 2011, my four children had moved out of the suburban home I’d kept for 19 years, and I moved in with Steve. I took more than a year off from any kind of employment as I worked through my grief in writing, reading, walking and talking with Steve. My goal in this transition was to learn to live gracefully, to face and accept life as it is. Now, four years later, I find myself still practicing that way of life, but with far fewer tears and fears. I feel more compassion, understanding and respect for myself and more eagerness to engage with the broader world.

JAMIE:You write the most remarkable essays, always well-considered. Logical! Always perfectly edited. What in life – education, teachers, friends, inclination – prepared you for this? I know you don’t do it for a living at this time, but writing certainly appears to be a natural endeavor for you, a kind of home-place.

PRISCILLA: I have to say that my writing style was probably most influenced by my parents. My father was a Harvard man of science, math, and letters and became an educational project director for SRA (a subsidiary of IBM before McGraw/Hill bought it out) and a technical writer for IBM. He helped develop national standardized tests for high school students and volunteered as a computer tutor later on. He was on a minor mission to teach young people how to think and write clearly. My mother was a Radcliffe English major and the volunteer editor of church newsletters and such. They probably had a critical hand in everything I wrote for school. When I was 15, I fell in love with the man who became my husband, and suddenly, I wrote poems and love letters in alarming abundance…and didn’t show them to my parents. I am still far more confident in prose and essay than in poetry and fiction, but learning to value my emotions and communicate them with greater facility and expression has become increasingly important to me. I am a sort of “recovering perfectionist” who is learning to love her feelings.

JAMIE: Since we are concerned in this issue with parents and parenting: I know that your parents – especially your mom – were quite accomplished. How did they encourage your moral and intellectual grown? How did you in turn foster good qualities in your children?

PRISCILLA: Moral and intellectual growth can be encouraged from the top down and from the bottom up. I have learned, however, that the “top down” style can lead to resentment and rebellion in spirited children! I was a compliant kind of kid, eager to please my parents because I was afraid of them to some degree. They espoused some rigorous moral and intellectual standards, and I did my best to meet them. As this was my model, I attempted to repeat it in the next generation. I discovered that neither my 3 daughters nor my son was interested in being that compliant, especially as teenagers! So, I have modified my approach. My mother is my enduring inspiration for “bottom up” encouragement and growth. She lives her values – positively, joyously, and with diminishing criticism and anxiety as she ages. This is much easier once your children aren’t living with you, though. I find that celebrating how we are maturing as equals is a lot more rewarding than policing behavior! Their good qualities continue to emerge and develop, as do most people’s, and my estimation of a “good quality” also is evolving. I had pride in the fact that they were quite accomplished as children, but now I know that they were not at ease with themselves and they developed some serious anxieties. My hope now is not that they will be “successful” in conventional ways. I hope that they will be happy, at peace, and continually growing in awareness and responsibility.

JAMIE: Over the past few years, you’ve been to several wilderness events and you are a great supporter of wilderness protections. What is/are you major concern/s and what are you doing to address your concern/s?

PRISCILLA: My major concerns for the health of the planet and its inhabitants revolve around the attitudes of human beings. We are way too arrogant and detached from the rest of the tree of Life, in my opinion. We have a penchant for “doing things” in the world instead of granting autonomy to other creatures and natural systems. We impose our will without compassion or understanding far too often. And this is especially dangerous because there are more of us than ever, demanding more resources for our growing technology. Our domination is reaching critical proportions; I don’t believe it can be absorbed much longer. This is why I think it’s of paramount importance that we preserve and protect wild land, places where we are not dominant, where we are merely visitors, places that can teach us humility.
What am I doing to address this? Trying to live an ethic of humility and harmony with the rest of the world and communicate that at every opportunity. So far this includes visiting wilderness areas, working for a conservation foundation, making political choices that support the environmental movement and becoming more mindful of habit and practice – like what I eat, what I buy and what I throw away. Steve and I are also operating a used book store online that is his only source of income, so we are in the salvage and recycling business. Steve is also researching a book on wilderness management philosophy and operation and developing his own blog, http://www.forthelastwolverine.com. This is sort of the way we are “parenting” together: modeling our values and putting our energy and resources into projects that can effect the future. But we may be poised at the brink of some radical changes in how the planet responds to our footprints, and we need to be ready to act differently!

JAMIE: You’ve had to deal with a lot of grief: the premature death of your relatively young husband and the tragically early death of your sister in a car accident. What have you learned about dealing with grief?

PRISCILLA: I am learning about suffering from the Buddhist perspective now. It’s a vastly different vantage point than the Western one. When my sister and I were in that car accident, I was not yet 17. Grief was something I wanted to “fix”. I wanted a remedy as quickly as possible. I was raised in a devoutly Christian family, and I plunged myself deeper into that doctrine. It was about having an answer, undoing the spell, reversing the consequences. My sister was in heaven; her death was somehow made “okay” at the end of the story. By the time I was 45, I’d been studying and teaching that story at higher and higher levels, but I was still afraid of death. My husband died at the age of 47. My life changed overnight, and I was terrified. The Christian story was played out in epic pageantry at his funeral, but I still had fears, anxiety, and suffering that I needed to deal with in real life. When I met Steve, he began to tell me about Buddhist philosophy and consciousness. It looks at grief and suffering head on. There’s no “fix”, no story. It’s part of the fabric of life: painful things happen. There’s no aberration; nothing’s gone horribly wrong. You have experiences, and you think about them, but you can decide how to think about them. It was like a veil lifted then. I had been told all my life what was the “right” thing to think, and it all had to do with that story. And now I realize it is just that, a story I decided to believe. So, I made a new decision to try to think in a different way. I think about suffering and grief as part of being alive. I’m not singled out in it or exempt from it. It just is what it is. A lot of added anxiety has unraveled since I started making conscious decisions about how to think. I have befriended grief and life, in a way. Grief has taught me that I practice attachment and aversion: I loved my husband fiercely and hated the idea of living without him. That kind of thinking caused me a lot of suffering. So now I try to practice appreciation and awareness. I still love my husband and appreciate the time I spent with him, and I know that life is lived in the moment and death is inevitable.

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Posted in The BeZine

THE BeZINE, JUNE 2018, Vol. 5, Issue 2, Theme: Sustainability / Sub-theme: Readers and Writers Speak Out on Abuse


June 15, 2018

“Having the right priorities in a wrong world will humble you with a journey that only love can sustain.”  Bryant McGill, Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life

As I sorted through the sustainability submissions for this issue, I was struck by two things: a preponderance of both love and sadness. The love with which so many of us – I’d like to think most of us – have for this planet, its natural beauties, and its voluptuous generosities and a sadness for the issues we largely lay at the feet of unenlightened, irresponsible corporate and government policies. The former combined with our willingness to speak up and speak out gives me hope that we will overcome the profound challenges of our day. We have after all the power to unite our voices, vote with our dollars, and refuse to play the games.

You’ll find here this quarter a collection of works on nature and the environment that encourages and admonishes, that makes love to the earth and its natural beauties, that shares frustrations and anger, and that heartens us with its very breath of awareness.

Special thanks to team member, Priscilla Galasso, for our lovely cover photo this quarter.

We’ve also included a profoundly moving collection of work on abuse, mainly domestic. This section is published in response to reader requests, and together the collection affirms courage and provides confirmation, insight and information. We are honored to have England’s Emergency Poet, Deborah Alma, introduce this section. Deborah is the editor of #MeToo, rallying against sexual assault and harassment, a women’s poetry anthology.

We welcome contributions from all over the world and know that you will appreciate the work of our new guest contributors (writers, photographers, and artists) this month as well as old friends and our core team members. Please support them with your “likes” and comments. This year in October we plan to nominate writers (guests, not team members) for Pushcart, so do please leave notes to let us know your faves. Thank you! 

In closing, once again I share this quotation (as I did in the last edition of The BeZine) from L.R. Knots. It seems to encapsulate the best rallying cry for our times.

“Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world.
All things break. And all things can be mended.
Not with time, as they say, but with intention.
So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally.
The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.”
—Author and counselor, L.R. Knost

In the spirit of peace, love (respect), and community
and on behalf of The Bardo Group Bequines,
Jamie Dedes
Founding and Managing Editor, The BeZine

TABLE OF CONTENTS


How to read this issue of THE BeZINE:You can read each piece individually by clicking the links in the Table of Contents.
To learn more about our guests contributors, please link HERE.
To learn more about our core team members, please link HERE.


NATURE and SUSTAINABILITY


SPECIAL FEATURE

What Fossil Fuels and Factor Farms Have in Common / Hint: They’re both issues of environmental injustice, Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch and Food and Water Action, Originally published in Yes! Magazine

BeATTITUDES

Crossing the Great Divide, John Anstie
Shkinah III: My beloved whispers in my ear, Michael Dickel
Insatiable =/= Sustaintable, Corina Ravenscraft
Sustain What?, Steve Wiencek

POETRY and ART/PHOTOGRAPHY

Hypocrite DespOILer, Gary W. Bowers
Earthquake and devastation, Michael Dickel
Multiplying Media, four poems, Michael Dickel
Gertrude’s Poem, Michael Dickel
Sustainability Should Be Our Creed, Mark Andrew Heathcote
When NASA Finishes Mining & Carbon Footprint, Zoë Sîobhan Howarth-Lowe
Clear the Brush, Ursula Jacobs
Climate Changes, Patricia Leighton
Life Eternal, Patricia Leighton
Gifts to the Poet’s Newborn Child, Patricia Leighton
Species Sustainability, Carolyn O’Connell
Evil Ones, Eliza Segiet


ABUSE and HOPE


We all know the wisdom around why it is so important to speak up about any form of abuse; the reasons are many and various. But often our abusers are close to us, members of our own family or community, and so speaking out is a great act of bravery. It may be difficult because we may also carry feelings of guilt, responsibility or shame. But if we can overcome such strong reasons to be silent, we are hugely empowered; we are made stronger by facing our fears.

It can also help to turn the abuse into a narrative that distances us from the pain in each retelling; an act that helps us to understand, to process and then to move beyond it; and in an act of alchemy to turn it into the piece of art that is the poem; that gives us gold out of the dirt. We ourselves as writer are transformed by it, and for those who come after as readers, the work can hold out its hand from those who have been there before, who have worked something out for us.

To read the stories and poetry of those who have been abused can also act as a warning or a flag that says ‘Yes this IS abuse. Take care! This is how I made myself safe or sane again.’

– Deborah Alma, Poet and Editor


#MeToo Anthology, The Back Story, Deborah Alma, poems by Sheila Jacob, Jane Commane, and Roberta Beary, and an introduction to Persephone’s Daughters
Hell Prefers Unaware, Susie Clevenger
Never Had a Chance, Isadora de la Vega
a man, a woman and a stick, Jamie Dedes
Closed Doors to Hotel Rooms, Michael Dickel
When Sexual Harassment Goes Public, Michael Watson

SPECIAL FEATURE

Wild Women in Art, Poetry and Community featuring Gretchen Del Rio’s Art and Victoria Bennett’s “The Howl or How Wild Women Press Came to Be”

EXCEPT WHERE OTHERWISE NOTED,
ALL WORKS IN “THE BEZINE” ©2018 BY THE AUTHOR / CREATOR


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Posted in The BeZine

The BeZine, Vol. 4, Issue One, Music to the Eyes

October 15, 2017

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music
~ Aldous Huxley

IMG_0004
From: ‘Notable Quotes’ hand carved code

Reading Michael Dickel’s introduction to last month’s edition of The BeZine, sowing the seeds of the mindset at the roots of the ethos of this publication – promoting peace, sustainability and social justice – but in particular, overcoming anger and harnessing it for good, he quotes a good deal of Audre Lorde’s laudable speech and essay The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism,  perhaps a reflection on what divides the world, what creates so much anxiety, political division, protective greed and selfishness.

So, we have music.

I don’t know about you, but there are few times in my life when music has done anything other than have a life enhancing and positive effect on me – with the possible exception of a Moody Blues concert I went to in 1969, in my university days, when I was left with a ringing in my ears for several days. This was, along with competitive shooting of Lee-Enfield .303 bore rifles at school, without ear defenders, probably the root of my tinnitus!  Subsequently, I carry ear plugs and try to avoid over amplified performances by groups of musicians, who employ sound engineers, who may be – shall we say – aurally challenged!

Music, particularly live and acoustic music has played and still does play an increasingly major part in most of my life; it provides a therapy against the rigours and stresses of everyday living. But it does more than this.

My personal perspective on the value of poetry has some relevance here. It is a belief that poetry should always be one step removed from the obvious, the logical and rational, in order for it to awaken the right brain, the creative side of our amazing abilities as humans; to stimulate the visceral (as opposed to the purely intellectual, rational, ‘logical’) response. In turn, this has the potential to stimulate a fresh approach to solving our challenges, be they personal or global. This hits on the core mission of The BeZine in a big way.

BeZine Planning
From: ‘Notable Quotes’ hand carved code

But if poetry has this potential power to stimulate a new way of thinking outside the framework imposed by a culture of consumerism, greed and material comfort, as opposed to our social well being, then music does so with a vengeance. It is truly visceral without the constraints of language. Of course, when the poetry of lyrics is introduced to create song, then there is the opportunity to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts; synergy. It can provide something that dwells in the conscious and even subconscious for a lifetime – whoever forgets the words and melody of a song that they heard at a very poignant moment in their lives, which continues to inhabit a special place in memory, resonate and invoke the most emotional response every time it is heard. There are a few who would argue this is ‘just an over-emotional response’, but it may well be the last resort to aid the development of a greater understanding and a clearer insight into the human need for compassion as well as passion in their lives.

If music be the food of love, play on;” said Duke Orsino “give me excess of it”. The opening lines of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” speaks much for music, even though he goes on, cynically “that, surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so die”.  Can you get too much of a good thing, I ask?

BeZine Planning (2)
From: ‘Notable Quotes’ hand carved code

Music is so often a catalyst for romance. We could not even begin to count the number of songs that have ever been written over the ages on the subject of romantic or divine and spiritual love … and its consequences. However, I wonder how often we may contemplate how many instrumental or orchestral compositions there are, which, without words, in a different way, on a very different level, are capable of promoting a feeling of love and, equally, a sense of calm, peace, remorse, sadness, melancholy, a whole gamut of emotional responses that can and very often do bring about a state of mind that is elevated above the daily grind of our lives, the trauma, the tragedies, the disasters and injustices we witness every day in the news, and above all, the ability it has to help us cry. In this way, music can act as a protest against injustice and, in a sense, be ‘angry’, but still it can act as a relief for that anger, just as poets can find simply by writing a ‘political’ poem, which can relieve the frustration and anxiety brought about by political injustice. It is this value that I attach to music that I hold highest in my personal esteem for this art of arts.

It is, in fact, an art that can, like no other, combine the poetry of good lyrics, the rhythms of our roots, the vast array of instrumental sounds and voices, and the spine tingling harmonies they can create, into one; that can team itself with other art forms, particularly in photography, film and dance, but also notably in storytelling. What broadcast programme, be it documentary, drama, comedy, film (movie) is made without serious thought for the addition of music, a song, an orchestral piece, which so often includes a main theme along with incidental ‘tracks’ throughout its production, which then, of course, naturally leads to the merchandising of a soundtrack album.

Even the latest generation of advertisers have realised the visceral value of music, sometimes combined with poetry (look at Apple’s poetic narration by the inimitable and dearly missed Robin Williams, who significantly quoted from Walt Whitman’s poem O Me, O Life to evoke the kind of emotional responses that are known to drive most human decisions … in this case, to buy!

As a test of how important a part music plays in teasing our wallets from our pockets, next time such an advert hits your screen, try turning off the sound. What are you left with … not a lot that is meaningful. Now here, I hope the photographers and cinematographers amongst us (Naomi Baltuck) will not take exception to this notion that still and moving pictures cannot move us, which of course they can and a similar thesis to this could be written for the visceral value of great pictures, but I know you will trust that my meaning, in this context, is well intended!

This month, as lead editor for the anniversary edition of The BeZine, the first of its fifth year, we feel quite frankly blessed with the quantity and quality of contributions we have received from our regular core contributors, and I take my hat off to our new guest contributors, including some very talented young writers and musicians. The sizeable response of quality submissions makes this, I believe, our largest issue yet; like a big fat magazine, but without any adverts, in itself, says something about the importance we attach to music.

We have poems galore, almost all of which touch the music theme or contain subtle BeZine Planning (1)references to it. Two fellow Brits are amongst the new contributors to The BeZine. From musician and composer, Joseph Alen Shaw, a piece that addresses the core of the Bardo Group Bequines mission, Music Beyond Belief, on the subject of faith and musical composition in the 20th Century. Joseph has also contributed another account of one of his recent compositions, the Wentworth Cantata. British newcomer, historian and musician, Emily Needle, has written an account of her research on her travels through Eastern USA in 2015, into the achievements of a remarkable and little known Charleston man, who had a surprisingly big influence on Jazz music in the early 20th Century.

Beside Joseph and Emily, other new contributors have all embraced the music theme in such creative ways, mostly poetry but also some lyrical prose, with very interesting results. Stephanie Williams’ Singing Man is a charming prose piece that evokes a child’s certain view of what they like. S.R. Chappell has written a couple of poems in praise of music. Kakali Das Ghosh, in her poem, presents us with some very mystical feelings. Andrew Scott gives us a story of a gritty performer with all the emotional baggage that can accompany that way of life, and JB Mulligan writes three deeply insightful and thought provoking poems.

All of our regular contributors have also given us a wealth of musical delight and I thank them all for their excellence that has made this a very special issue.

Further Acknowledgments

Thanks are due to Glen Armstrong (his deeply nostalgic plea for vinyl records that ‘once had purpose’), Naomi Baltuck (for your photo essay with a family musical conclusion), Sonja Benskin Mesher (her beautiful reflective on ageing, remembering, companionship ends with music), Paul Brookes (fine poems, particularly clever is his onomatopoeic on a Bodhrán), Miki Byrne (whose poems about performance are both clever and revealing), Bill Cushing (and his handful of poems with oh so subtle musical references), Jamie Dedes (whose Orchestra of Impossible Beauty relates the moving story of the British ‘ParaOrchestra’ comprised of people with a variety of disabled conditions), Renee Espriu (and who can resist the image of how a child can hear the recording in a seashell of the sound of the sea or how they can bring home from school a musical instrument that’s bigger than themselves!), Denise Fletcher (on a trip to a Country Music Festival or the intrusive quality of loud music), Priscilla Galasso (for her usual insightful qualities), Mike Gallagher (for his remarkable, lyrical prose piece), Mark Heathcote (and his Whispering Muse), Charles Martin (and his ekphrastic haiku / senryu triplet), Liliana Negoi (for super imaginative variety of expression), Phillip Stephens (with a further challenging ekphrastic poem), John Sullivan (whose poems include a conversation with his radio, deeply embedded with the blues and a call to the Tripitaka of Buddhism), Lynn White (for not allowing us to forget the importance in our lives of birdsong), and the artful collaboration of photograph Amy Bassin and poet Mark Blickley in Screaming Mime.

So much delight from each and every one of our writers, I can’t tell you what a pleasure this has been, to write about one of my favourite pastimes.

Enjoy.

John Anstie


THANK YOU!

It seems somehow right that we dance into our fifth year on a musical note and John’s perceptive and passionate introduction to this month’s The BeZine. It is no exaggeration to say that the longevity of this 100% volunteer effort is the outgrowth of the stalwart support of readers and contributors and the work, creativity, vision and perspicacity of our core team: John Anstie, Naomi Baltuck, James R. Cowles, Michael Dickel, Priscilla Galasso, Chrysty Hendrick, Joseph Hesch, Ruth Jewel, Charlie Martin, Liliana Negoi, Lana Phillips, Corina Ravenscraft ,Terri Stewart (founder of Beguine Again, our sister site), and Michael Watson.

There are so many other ways readers, contributors and team could choose to spend valuable time, but you have all chosen to invest a portion in this small effort to build a community of others.

This site was founded in 2011 with three American Buddhist friends. Two have passed on. Since that time as both blog and zine we have published the works of like-minded representing all races, at least six religions, agnosticism and atheism and, I believe, nearly thirty countries. We have stood in solidarity for kindness and joy and raised our voices for peace, environmental sustainability and social justice.  

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to all of us. Thank you everyone and may peace and friendship prevail.

On behalf of the Bardo Group Beguines
and in the spirit of peace, love (respect) and community,
Jamie Dedes
Managing Editor

MUSIC TO THE EYES

How to read this issue of THE BeZINE:

Click HERE to read the entire magazine by scrolling, or
You can read each piece individually by clicking the links in the Table of Contents.
To learn more about our guests contributors, please link HERE.
To learn more about our core team members, please link HERE.


 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Poetic Musical Musings

Underneath The Stairs, John Anstie

Cannonball Adderley Adrift, Glen Armstrong

Post-Punk, Glen Armstrong

Used Records, Glen Armstrong

Under A Rainbow. Somewhere., Mendes Biondo

First Time, Paul Brookes

Bodhrán, Paul Brookes

When I Used to Play, Miki Byrne

Beginners Night, Mike Byrne

Applause, Miki Byrne

For Gilly Dangerous, Miki Byrne

Music Crashing, S.R. Chappell

Music Within, S.R. Chappell

Ode to Nina Simone, Bill Cushing

On Modest Mussourgsky’s “Bydlo”, Bill Cushing

La Rosa & El Dragon (impressions from the music of “Pan’s Labyrinth”, Bill Cushing

“Zooz’s Brasshouse” Busking, Bill Cushing

Blakeson, Bill Cushing

Harmonic Chanson, Kakali Das Ghosh

The Music of the Conch Shell, Renee Espriu

The Music of Prowess, Renee Espriu

Intrusion, Denise Fletcher

The Whisper of the Muse, Mark Heathcote

Three Notes, Charles Martin

As We Go Together, Sonja Benskin Mesher

String Quartet, JB Mulligan

Consolation #3 in D Flat by Liszt,  JB Mulligan

Canon, JB Mulligan

Song for Agriope, Liliana Negoi

Feathery Song, Liliana Negoi

Mr. Bluesman, Andrew Scott

Understanding the Flautist (Meditation on a Peace Painting), Phillip T. Stephens

Llano Estacado, John Sullivan

True Emergency, John Sullivan

Aubade on Royal Street,  John Sullivan

Chill, Lynn White

To The Passing of The Nightingale,Lynn White

~~~~~~~

Musical Insights

Press Play, Photo Essay from Naomi Baltuck

How Hawkwind Improved My Adolescence, Paul Brookes

Country Music, Cow Pokes and City Girls, Jamie Dedes

The Orchestra of Impossible Beauty, Jamie Dedes

 Stars In My Eyes, Denise Fletcher

Beyond Music Appreciation, Priscilla Galasso

The Clonmel Set, Mike Gallagher

From Rags Through Race to Ragtime, Emily Needle

The Presence of Sound,  Liliana Negoi

Music Beyond Belief, Joseph Alen Shaw

The Singing Man, Stephanie Williams

~~~~~~~

Music, Video & Special Interest

My (Sort of) Desert Island Discs, John Anstie

Wentworth Cantata, Joseph Alen Shaw

Screaming Mime, Amy Bassin and Mark Blickley

Stocksbridge Memorial Project, Ian McMillan

Translating Words Into/From Music, Liliana Negoi

 


Except where otherwise noted,
ALL works in The BeZine ©2017 by the author / creator


CONNECT WITH US

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Submissions:

Read Info/Missions StatementSubmission Guidelines, and at least one issue before you submit. Updates on Calls for Submissions and other activities are posted every Sunday in Sunday Announcements on The Poet by Day.


 

Beyond Music Appreciation

I think Music is the deepest language of our species.

Sound is the merest breeze on the surface, like the ringtone that tells me someone is calling.

A melody is a simple sentence. Happy Birthday To You is as common and understandable as “Where are my car keys?”

When rhythm and tone color make my feet move, my hips sway, and my mood change, I’m swimming in poetry, soaked in a Rhapsody in Blue.

When I am engulfed by a Wagner opera or a Mahler symphony, I’ve gone down in a diving bell, and my world shifts completely. I can feel the weight and complexity of the ideology communicated through these grand works; they move me and change me, physically.

Knowledge adds something to the experience of any language, but it is not the experience. Even though I can read musical notation, though I’ve learned a chronology of musical styles and composers, and I can identify a hundred compositions at the drop of a needle, I still haven’t experienced all there is to music. Even when I make music, the transformative power of the language can be illusive. My body is involved. My mind is involved. I feel my soul is involved. A community may be involved. Having all those elements involved at a level that reaches past the musicians’ egos, beyond continental shelves and cultures, and touches the deepest purity of global communication is a real phenomenon. It is powerful and rare, but it can and does happen when I am open to the possibility.

I know I’ve felt the transcendence of musical language. Perhaps you have, too. I now look for its icons everywhere. Even a glimpse is enough to move me. I get chills watching flash mob performances sometimes. What is that about? Why would I be moved by that kind of cheesy marketing for an upcoming production? Maybe it’s just my soul longing for a spontaneous communal acclamation of life. Why do I select clips of talent shows to watch a nervous young singer connect with an audience through the tremulous wagging of vocal folds? Maybe it’s because I relate to her yearning for a physical experience of expression and belonging.

But these are mere snapshots. Being present with live music is the gateway to the oceanic realm of the language. In the concert hall, I sit in the dark, in the center of an acoustic grotto. I let the waves roll over my tympanic membrane. I breathe with the phrasing of the melody, and feel my heart come into rhythm with the pulse of its message. Emotions rise to the surface. Memories and intuition swim in my consciousness. I am sent on a voyage to a new shore, a new experience, a new knowledge.

When I am one of the performers, I may be standing in the light of the rising sun, with the spray crashing over the deck, sounding the call to sail on through the storm. I may be rocking in the moonlight, sending my lonely thoughts over the still, open horizon. The language within me spills out in long waves, rising and falling, on and on, until my breath is spent, my message complete. When I am silent, the music continues.

I am the rest between two notes,
which are somehow always in discord
because Death’s note wants to climb over --
but in the dark interval, reconciled,
they stay there trembling.
And the song goes on, beautiful.
---Rainer Marie Rilke
excerpt from The Selected Poetry of Rainer Marie Rilke by Rainer Marie Rilke translated by Stephen Mitchell

© 2017, Priscilla Galasso

Posted in The BeZine, The BeZine Table of Contents, theatre/spoken word

The BeZine, August 2017, Vol. 3, Issue 11, Theatre

August 15, 2017

In the introduction to his translation of Beowulf, Seamus Haney comments that “as a work of art it lives in its own continuous present.” For me, theatre (whether in its broadest or narrowest sense) is very much the same. Theatre always encourages us to be in that continuous present. As an over-arching art form it can integrate every other form of human (and even animal) expression. It usually rewards our engagement and disdains our detachment. Even when a show runs for a thousand performances, it can never be quite as canned, as mass produced as many of our other entertainments. Human variability is on display every night.

More broadly, theatre tends to mean any place in which we think there is a scripted or specialized drama occurring. In that sense it often indicates that we’re seeing a performance driven by an agenda and perhaps designed to deceive. We criticize this as hypocrisy. In ancient Greece, a hypocrite was merely an actor, i.e. one who had made a judgment or assessment of a script when preparing to perform that script for others. At that time, it was also thought unworthy for actors to become politicians since actors were skilled at impersonation. We could not know their true selves.

In the context of our art, we would probably judge this as unfair. We’ve all had the experience of “donning the mask” or crafting a persona as a way of freeing ourselves. In expressing the lie, we hope to tell the truth.

I’m delighted to be Guest Editor this month. It coincides with a production that I’m currently in. This is an experimental production staged as immersive experience. We’re telling the story of a family in crisis (the passing of parents, dealing with aging and the end of life, and the break-up of relationships). We tell this story in a residence where small audience groups (a dozen to two dozen at a time) sit in the “living rooms” of the characters. This intimacy connects us with our audience. They do not participate in the sense of interacting with the actors. But, they are side-by-side with us as we make the journey, watching us, crying with us, laughing with us and even eating with us. Detachment is not an option. We join together in the continuous present.

This month’s pieces remind  us of these connections and touch on so many of the stages on which we act.

Priscilla Galasso speaks of her experience with theatre and its broad impact in her life. “Playing the muck of human behavior” as she says.

Charles W. Martin’s poetry talks passionately of life’s stage, reminding us that, yes, detachment is not an option.

Corina Ravenscraft gets to the root of why we should all spend time in “the seeing place.” It’s a broadside worth taking around when it comes time to fund arts in schools and communities.

Michael Watson recounts an early experience where his personal humiliation also reflected larger and deeper ones around him. He shows us how Playback Theatre is another powerful way to connect.

John Anstie recounts the life of his mother. In reading her story, I think on the many roles we are often forced to play and how we adopt certain personas to help us survive.

I feel that basic joy of theatre in Renee Espriu’s contribution. “The hills are alive…” means a little more to me now than it did before.

Jamie Dedes points us to theatrical entertainment with its golden moments and the theatre of life with it’s chaos and absurdity. [And, seriously, check out Fanny Brice’s physical comedy.]

John Sullivan’s four poems this month are, for me, intriguing and searching meditations on the self. They speak to who we are, the personas we have, the masks we wear, the music we sing. And, he’s allowed us to publish an excerpt from his new play, Hey Fritz, Looks Like You Lost It All Again in the Ghosting.

Naomi Baltuck’s discussion of Come From Away focuses right in on an essential aspect of our experiences both in life and in theatre. Specifically, I’m thinking about what it means to literally commune with strangers, whether it’s the characters in Come From Away or the audience who watches it.

Karen Fayeth shows how, no matter what size or shape the spectacle, there is something profound in the simplest of relationships. Say, between a boy and his horse. Because, whether we’re seeing animals at play or a play about animals we are moved.

In bringing together both her visual art and her poetry, Sonja Benskin Mesher has each explain the other. And, yet, each also enlarges the other and perhaps we see our own actions a little differently, too.

Of course, plays and poetics go hand-in-hand. Michael Dickel thoughtfully discusses how one arises from the other and the personal origins of both.

Paul Brookes’ poems read as very modern, but also touching on things quite old, such as shared rituals and the hypocrisy of actors (in the classical sense).

And, finally, there’s a last word from Denise Fletcher. I hope we’ve achieved a kind of success along the lines of what she describes.

Thank you to all who contributed this month and for letting me join the show. I’m having a wonderful time! I look forward to seeing where the story goes from here. And, to the last one who leaves the theatre, please turn on the ghost light.

Richard Lingua
Guest Editor

THEATRE

How to read this issue of THE BEZINE:

  • Click HERE to read the entire magazine by scrolling, or
  • You can read each piece individually by clicking the links below.
  • To learn more about our guests contributors, please link HERE.
  • To learn more about our core team members, please link HERE.

Photograph: Gargoyles as theatrical masks above a water basin. Mosaic, Roman artwork, 2nd century CE. The piece can be found at the Capitoline Museum in Rome, Palazzo dei Conservatori, first floor, hall of the Horti of Mæcenas. From the Baths of Decius on the Aventine Hill, Rome.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Priscilla Galasso

Charles W. Martin

Corina Ravenscraft

Michael Watson

John Anstie

Renee Espriu

Jamie Dedes

John Sullivan

Naomi Baltuck

Karen Fayeth

Sonja Benskin Mesher

Michael Dickel

Paul Brookes

Denise Fletcher


Except where otherwise noted,
ALL works in The BeZine ©2017 by the author / creator

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Theater Lessons

What has Theater taught me? Ego indulgence and humility. Confidence and neurosis. Teamwork and competition. Empathy and retreat. Deception and honesty. The story of humanity in a microcosm. My story.

When I was a little kid, I learned that I could entertain and amuse my parents and my older sisters and get positive attention. As the youngest of four daughters, I was eager to exercise this talent to my advantage whenever my ego felt bereft. This helped me compensate for having fewer general skills and powers than my seniors. I couldn’t win at games or read or figure or run better than the rest, but I could sing and mime and look cute. I also was the only blonde, which helped.

When I was in second grade, I was very good at reading aloud “with expression”. I remember (and still have a written report about) my behavior when the class did a Reader’s Theater story about a snake. I told the teacher that I had a toy snake the class could use…provided that I got to read the lead role. Mrs. Richie declined my offer.

When I was in third grade, Miss White selected me to play Captain Hook in the musical Peter Pan. I was stunned. “I’m not a boy!” I protested. She told me privately that she thought I’d do a better job than any of the boys in the class. She could tell that I was a ham and would take risks to win attention and applause. And I did. In the final week of rehearsal, she gave me a monologue, a poem in rhyme that she would put into a particular scene if I could memorize it. I worked on it very hard. In the final performance, though, I skipped it altogether because I forgot where it was supposed to be inserted. To this day, I can rattle it off by heart. “Methinks I hear a spark, a gleam, a glimmer of a plan….”

The pirate theme lives on in my legacy.

When I was in seventh grade, I was double-cast as the lead in our pre-Bicentennial musical. I was the Spirit of ’75 for two performances (why the Music teacher and the Home Ec teacher chose this theme a year early is anyone’s guess). So was Kevin Bry. Yes, I played a man. Again. I vividly remember being in performance and feeling sort of bored with the dialogue the teachers had written to link together the songs the school chorus had rehearsed. So I decided to overact. “The sun still rises in the East….doesn’t it????!!” The audience roared. I think they were pretty bored, too.

When I was in High School, I took real Drama classes. I learned to dance, and I gained some confidence singing solos in the Concert Choir and the Jazz Choir. I became a lot more aware of my own vulnerability, too. I will never forget the Talent Show in my Junior year. I was in a leotard and character shoes, posed and ready to dance when the curtain went up. I was listening for our taped music to begin. And I heard nothing…until the audience started to howl and whistle. Suddenly, I felt naked and taunted. Then the music started, and I couldn’t concentrate on it. I was humiliated. My father and mother and boyfriend (who became my husband) were in the audience, hearing those students jeering at me. We all went out for ice cream afterward, and they tried to convince me that the performance wasn’t bad and the audience wasn’t being critical, but I just wanted to block the whole thing out of my memory forever. Obviously, I haven’t.

When I was in college, I was a Music major with Voice Performance as my Senior thesis. I auditioned for a part in a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta as a Junior. I hate auditions. I tend to choke when I know that someone is out there in those dark seats judging me. I am awesome in rehearsal – prepared, alert, willing and tireless. I was working hard, getting better at performance in my Master Classes and feeling more and more that my teachers and colleagues were actually rooting for me. But not at an audition. I was nervous, my mouth was dry, and my voice wavered. I could see my choir teacher in the house, talking with the casting director. I am sure that Prof. Lamkin was telling him that I was a very good soprano despite my weak scale runs in Mabel’s aria. I managed to land a part in the chorus.

That’s me, third lady on the left.

After graduating Phi Beta Kappa with my B.A. in Music, I auditioned for the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Worst audition EVER! Oh well. I found out that I was already pregnant. Got the role of Mother at age 22…and 24…and 26…and 28, and stayed off the stage for years. Meanwhile, my husband performed all over the country with a competitive Barbershop quartet and once at Carnegie Hall with the Robert Shaw Chorale Workshop. My children were on stage quite a bit, too. I was their coach. They were in all the school concerts and plays, took dance and music classes, and I watched and cheered and videotaped my heart out.

Then some neighbors invited me to help them start a Community Theater. I was tired of being in the background. I stepped up, and brought my oldest daughter with me. The next summer, I brought three of my children, my husband, and my mother-in-law as rehearsal accompanist. The next summer, it was just me, and my husband told me that he wouldn’t be able to solo parent while I was at rehearsal after this. Meanwhile, he was performing with the Chicago Master Singers and rehearsing every week. A few years later, my youngest daughter started taking theater classes with a group called CYT. The next summer, they did a community theater production, and I auditioned again and got cast. My oldest daughter played in the pit band. One of the performances was on my birthday, and the director brought me out on stage for the audience to sing for me during intermission. * shucks, folks! *

I ended up working for CYT and becoming their Operations Supervisor full time. In addition, I taught Voice classes and Musical Theater classes and Show Choir classes to kids aged 8-18 after work. All of my children and my husband participated at some point in the seven years I was employed there. I watched kids grow up in the theater, auditioning three times a year, growing in confidence and artistry, and questioning their identity every time.

“Who am I, anyway? Am I my résumé? That is a picture of a person I don’t know.” A Chorus Line 

Accessing emotions, improvising with another person’s energy – initiation, response, vulnerability, defense. Mime, mimicry, mannerisms, artifice and accents. Playing in the muck of human behavior. This is Theater. It can be devastating and edifying. You can lose yourself and find yourself or never know the difference.

I wonder if I should regret raising up a bunch of performers and encouraging them in this charade or if I should be proud to have modeled survival in the arena. I don’t know. It’s complex. We’re complex. And maybe that’s the entire lesson.

© 2017, words and photographs, Priscilla Galasso

The BeZine, June 2017, Environmental Justice/Climate Change: Farming and Access to Water


June 15, 2017

The environmental  challenges are complex, an understatement I know.

  • Big Ag pollutes our waterways and groundwater, air and soil. Some wetlands, rivers and their tributaries can no longer sustain life. Much pastureland is befouled with pesticides, animal waste, phosphates and nitrates and other toxic residue from unsustainable farming practices.
  • Sudan Relief Fund, World Food Program, Oxfam, Catholic Relief Fund, Buddhist Global Relief, the World Food Program and many other organizations are working to mitigate widespread  hunger, which is a problem of economic injustice as well as environmental degradation and environmental injustice.
  • Drought and resulting famine are devastating the Sudan, the West Upper Nile and Yemen.
  • In many areas of the world, access to potable water is sorely lacking.
  • Lack of access to clean water is exacerbated by a want of toilets for some 4.2 billion people, which has a  huge impact on public health.  The result of poor hygiene and sanitation is Dysentery, Typhoid, Cholera, Hepatitis A and death-dealing Diarrhea. More people die of diarrhea in Third World counties than of AIDs.

Our problems are pressing and complex and are made the more difficult as we struggle under a cloud of skepticism and division and the discouraging weight of a Doomsday Clock that was moved forward in January to two-and-a-half minutes to midnight in response to Trump’s election.  That’s the closest we’ve been to midnight since 1953.

Access to potable water may be the most pressing of our challenges.

“The world runs on water. Clean, reliable water supplies are vital for industry, agriculture, and energy production. Every community and ecosystem on Earth depends on water for sanitation, hygiene, and daily survival.

“Yet the world’s water systems face formidable threats. More than a billion people currently live in water-scarce regions, and as many as 3.5 billion could experience water scarcity by 2025. Increasing pollution degrades freshwater and coastal aquatic ecosystems. And climate change is poised to shift precipitation patterns and speed glacial melt, altering water supplies and intensifying floods and drought.”  World Resources Institute

The good news is that there are many working conscientiously to raise awareness and funds. Some of our readers and contributors are among them. There are good people offering time and expertise, sometimes putting their own lives and livelihoods  in danger.

This month our core team and guest writers have chosen to focus largely on water, but they also address the need to respect science (Naomi Baltuck) and the need to acknowledge that war is a danger to the environment in general as well as a cause of human hunger. (Michael Dickel). If the Syrian Civil War were to stop right this second, one wonders how long – how many years, perhaps decades – it would take to make that country’s land farmable again.

Michael Watson, Carolyn O’Connell and Joe Hesch touch their experiences of farms before industrial farming.  Priscilla Galasso, John Anstie, Paul Brooks, Marieta Maglas and Rob Cullen speak to us of water.  Corina Ravenscraft and Sonja Benskin Mesher remind us of the element of greed – as does John – and Sonja points to gratitude.  Enough is truly enough.  Charlie Martin’s poems are poignant, making us think about how sad it would be if we lost it all.  Liliana Negoi brings a quiet and practical appreciation of nature.  Phillip Stevens paints the earth in all her delicacy and need for tender husbandry.

Thanks to our core team members for stellar, thoughtful work as always: John Anstie, Michael Watson and Michael Dickel, Priscilla Galasso and Corina Ravenscraft, Charles Martin, Liliana Negoi, Naomi Baltuck and Joe Hesch.

Welcome back to Paul Brooks, Phillip Stephens and Sonja Benskin Mesher and a warm welcome to Marieta Maglas and Rob Cullen, new to our pages.

We hope this issue will give you pleasure even as it provokes you. Leave your likes and comments behind. As readers you are as import to the The BeZine project, values and goals as are our contributors. Your commentary is welcome and encourages our writers. As always, we offer the work of emerging, mid-career and polished pros, all talented and all with ideas and ideals worth reading and thinking about.

In the spirit of peace, love (respect) and community
and on behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines,
Jamie Dedes, Founding and Managing Editor

Photo


TABLE OF CONTENTS

How to read this issue of THE BEZINE:

  • Click HERE to read the entire magazine by scrolling (now includes this Intro), or
  • You can read each piece individually by clicking the links below.
  • To learn more about our guests contributors, please link HERE.

SPECIAL

Children call on world leaders to save the ocean, World Oceans Day

BeATTITUDES

Walking With Water, Rob Cullen
Water Wishes, Priscilla Galasso
Our Albatross Is Greed, But We’re Not Sunk Yet, Corina Ravenscraft
Close to My Heart, Michael Watson

 POEMS

Let the Rains Fall, John Anstie

The Value of Water, Paul Brookes
WET KILL, Paul Brookes
What Use Poetry When It Floods, Paul Brookes

Hybrid: Warm Hunger, Michael Dickel

Water, Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don’t Blink, Joseph Hesch

The Desert, Marieta Maglas

Postponed Awareness, Charles W. Martin
off course evolution, Charles W. Martin
death by committee, Charles W. Martin

#what more do you expect, Sonja Benskin Mesher

prints, Liliana Negoi
growth, Liliana Negoi
what remains after the tree, Liliana Negoi

Remember the Farm, Carolyn O’Connell

Guerilla Gardening, Phillip Stephens
Resurrection Restoration, Phillip Stephens

PHOTO/ESSAY

That Was Then, This Is Now, Naomi Baltuck

MORE LIGHT

For My Children, Rob Cullen


Except where otherwise noted,
ALL works in The BeZine ©2017 by the author / creator


CONNECT WITH US


Daily Spiritual Practice: Beguine Again, a community of Like-Minded People

Facebook, The Bardo Group Beguines

Twitter, The Bardo Group Beguines

Water Wishes

Roughly, a liter of water is required to produce every calorie, so an adequate daily diet requires more than 2,000 liters of water to produce enough food for one person. Of this, 40 percent on global average can come from irrigated agriculture. New factors such as increasing world population and improved affluence will further strain water resources. In addition, the uncertain effects of climate change on drought, floods, and agricultural productivity will exacerbate the situation.
If we continue to apply current water management practices, by 2050 the global agricultural sector will need to double the amount of water used to feed the world.” Agriculture: Meeting the Water Challenge by Nadia S. Halim, John Hopkins water magazine

Water of the Earth
For the Earth
Siphoned and sucked into 
Nine billion thirsty mouths

Not to mention
The car wash
The swimming pool
And the golf course

In former ages,
Its power created
Canyon carvings and
Cave formations

What does Water want…for itself?

 


© 2017, Priscilla Galasso

Posted in The BeZine, The BeZine Table of Contents

The BeZine, June 2017, Vol. 3, Issue 9


June 15, 2017

The environmental  challenges are complex, an understatement I know.

  • Big Ag pollutes our waterways and groundwater, air and soil. Some wetlands, rivers and their tributaries can no longer sustain life. Much pastureland is befouled with pesticides, animal waste, phosphates and nitrates and other toxic residue from unsustainable farming practices.
  • Sudan Relief Fund, World Food Program, Oxfam, Catholic Relief Fund, Buddhist Global Relief, the World Food Program and many other organizations are working to mitigate widespread  hunger, which is a problem of economic injustice as well as environmental degradation and environmental injustice.
  • Drought and resulting famine are devastating the Sudan, the West Upper Nile and Yemen.
  • In many areas of the world, access to potable water is sorely lacking.
  • Lack of access to clean water is exacerbated by a want of toilets for some 4.2 billion people, which has a  huge impact on public health.  The result of poor hygiene and sanitation is Dysentery, Typhoid, Cholera, Hepatitis A and death-dealing Diarrhea. More people die of diarrhea in Third World counties than of AIDs.

Our problems are pressing and complex and are made the more difficult as we struggle under a cloud of skepticism and division and the discouraging weight of a Doomsday Clock that was moved forward in January to two-and-a-half minutes to midnight in response to Trump’s election.  That’s the closest we’ve been to midnight since 1953.

Access to potable water may be the most pressing of our challenges.

“The world runs on water. Clean, reliable water supplies are vital for industry, agriculture, and energy production. Every community and ecosystem on Earth depends on water for sanitation, hygiene, and daily survival.

“Yet the world’s water systems face formidable threats. More than a billion people currently live in water-scarce regions, and as many as 3.5 billion could experience water scarcity by 2025. Increasing pollution degrades freshwater and coastal aquatic ecosystems. And climate change is poised to shift precipitation patterns and speed glacial melt, altering water supplies and intensifying floods and drought.”  World Resources Institute

The good news is that there are many working conscientiously to raise awareness and funds. Some of our readers and contributors are among them. There are good people offering time and expertise, sometimes putting their own lives and livelihoods  in danger.

This month our core team and guest writers have chosen to focus largely on water, but they also address the need to respect science (Naomi Baltuck) and the need to acknowledge that war is a danger to the environment in general as well as a cause of human hunger. (Michael Dickel). If the Syrian Civil War were to stop right this second, one wonders how long – how many years, perhaps decades – it would take to make that country’s land farmable again.

Michael Watson, Carolyn O’Connell and Joe Hesch touch their experiences of farms before industrial farming.  Priscilla Galasso, John Anstie, Paul Brooks, Marieta Maglas and Rob Cullen speak to us of water.  Corina Ravenscraft and Sonja Benskin Mesher remind us of the element of greed – as does John – and Sonja points to gratitude.  Enough is truly enough.  Charlie Martin’s poems are poignant, making us think about how sad it would be if we lost it all.  Liliana Negoi brings a quiet and practical appreciation of nature.  Phillip Stevens paints the earth in all her delicacy and need for tender husbandry.

Thanks to our core team members for stellar, thoughtful work as always: John Anstie, Michael Watson and Michael Dickel, Priscilla Galasso and Corina Ravenscraft, Charles Martin, Liliana Negoi, Naomi Baltuck and Joe Hesch.

Welcome back to Paul Brooks, Phillip Stephens and Sonja Benskin Mesher and a warm welcome to Marieta Maglas and Rob Cullen, new to our pages.

We hope this issue will give you pleasure even as it provokes you. Leave your likes and comments behind. As readers you are as import to the The BeZine project, values and goals as are our contributors. Your commentary is welcome and encourages our writers. As always, we offer the work of emerging, mid-career and polished pros, all talented and all with ideas and ideals worth reading and thinking about.

In the spirit of peace, love (respect) and community
and on behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines,
Jamie Dedes, Founding and Managing Editor

Photo credit: A Mongolian Gazelle, victim of drought, Gobi Desert 2009 courtesy of Mark Heard under CC BY 2.0


TABLE OF CONTENTS

How to read this issue of THE BEZINE:

  • Click HERE to read the entire magazine by scrolling (now includes this Intro), or
  • You can read each piece individually by clicking the links below.
  • To learn more about our guests contributors, please link HERE.

SPECIAL

Children call on world leaders to save the ocean, World Oceans Day

BeATTITUDES

Walking With Water, Rob Cullen
Water Wishes, Priscilla Galasso
Our Albatross Is Greed, But We’re Not Sunk Yet, Corina Ravenscraft
Close to My Heart, Michael Watson

 POEMS

Let the Rains Fall, John Anstie

The Value of Water, Paul Brookes
WET KILL, Paul Brookes
What Use Poetry When It Floods, Paul Brookes

Hybrid: Warm Hunger, Michael Dickel

Water, Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don’t Blink, Joseph Hesch

The Desert, Marieta Maglas

Postponed Awareness, Charles W. Martin
off course evolution, Charles W. Martin
death by committee, Charles W. Martin

#what more do you expect, Sonja Benskin Mesher

prints, Liliana Negoi
growth, Liliana Negoi
what remains after the tree, Liliana Negoi

Remember the Farm, Carolyn O’Connell

Guerilla Gardening, Phillip Stephens
Resurrection Restoration, Phillip Stephens

PHOTO/ESSAY

That Was Then, This Is Now, Naomi Baltuck

MORE LIGHT

For My Children, Rob Cullen


Except where otherwise noted,
ALL works in The BeZine ©2017 by the author / creator


CONNECT WITH US


Daily Spiritual Practice: Beguine Again, a community of Like-Minded People

Facebook, The Bardo Group Beguines

Twitter, The Bardo Group Beguines

Posted in General Interest, The BeZine, The BeZine Table of Contents

March 2017, Vol.3, Issue 6, Science in Culture, Politics and Religion

March 15, 2017

The title of David Cooper’s book on Kabbalah invites us to re-think the Creator as Creating: God is a Verb. While I don’t want to equate science to God in a religious sense, I want to borrow this re-conception. Science is creative, creating, if you will, knowledge of the world. Science is a verb.

Too often we get tied down to a concept of science as about facts. However, as Thomas Kuhn describes it in The Structures of Scientific Revolutions, science is a process (hence, verb). The process involves a method (the scientific method), observation, repeated results, and, if repeated results are consistent, an assertion that a hypothesis is likely to be true. However, Kuhn explains that it is also a sociological process where the method and affirmed hypotheses lead to paradigmatic beliefs—models that predict reasonably well future observations.

The paradigms are not easily changed—the paradigm of Newtonian Mechanics, which work very well in most real-world situations, did not easily yield to Relativity and Quantum Mechanics even as Newtonian physics accumulated observations it couldn’t explain while quantum physics explained more and more. As a model for most human activities on Earth, though, Newton’s model still works. It’s when boring down to atomic particles or moving out into massive astronomical systems, or specific cases like black holes and light itself, that we need Quantum Mechanics.

The different (and often competing) models—also known as theories—are products of science, the verb. The scientific process refines, overturns, explores new models. Science, at its best, produces closer and closer approximations of the actual universe it models. This is different from a belief in an unwavering truth or an ideology—in part, because it relies on observation and corrections if observations do not show what the model predicts. And second, because science does not make truth statements but, rather, probability statements. Sometimes, the probability approaches 100%, sometimes only 95%.

The flexibility that comes from self-correction unfortunately also provides ammunition for “science deniers,” such as those who deny climate change. As science is a process and models do change, as models are based on predictive ability and that ability is not 100% even in the best cases, those whose ideology or greed get in the way of accepting the predictions (even the very strongly likely ones) often claim the whole model is “unreliable,” or point to earlier results that required corrections to the model in order to discredit the whole theory. Yet, those who object do not offer an alternative model that does stand up to the process of scrutiny, repeated results, and reliable prediction of future events. They often offer no alternative at all.

At its outer theoretical spheres, the science verb sometimes takes us to conversations that sound like mysticism—as do some of aspects of that mysterious energy, light. Humans have a long cultural (and religious) history with light. Arthur Zajonc’s book Catching the Light: The Entwined History of Light and Mind provides a wide ranging cultural and inter-cultural exploration of human understanding of light through history. In the end, Zajonc re-connects current quantum physics concepts with those from ancient myths as accurate metaphors (or analogies). Zajonc, a professor of physics at Amherst (now retired), has studied culture, mind and spirit in relation to physics from his perspective as a physic working in quantum optics (for example: The New Physics and Cosmology: Dialogues with the Dalai Lama, one of his better known books).

In a very real sense, the verb science interacts with arts and culture. It is an active process of human society, a developed methodology for producing close observations and repeatable results to help us build models that predict future results under different conditions. It is not a series of facts, but rather a system of understanding and predicting creation. In this way, it actively creates the world, literally as we know it. And it has influence culture. Certain newly (re)discovered understandings from mathematics helped European artists develop perspective in painting. A recent example, Chaos Theory, with its fractals and butterfly effect, has influenced art, music, and literature, and not just with science fiction movies.

In this issue, we celebrate, explore, and raise questions involving science, culture, politics, and religion. John Anstie and I both contribute poems that have sub-atomic particles at their centers, but are not (only or even mostly) about them. Naomi Baltuck explores Galileo through the Musee Galileo, in another one of her marvelous photo-essays. An sampling of snippets from science take us through Science in culture, politics and religion”  in Corina Ravenscraft’s exploration of connections. In “A Life,” Michael Watson gives a highly personal account of his own encounters and loves with different ways of understanding — or knowing — embodied in the theme’s elements of science, culture, religion, and politics. Current politics seem to attack the different approaches each has to offer. Phillip T. Stevens begins with Chaos Theory and moves into myths, the myths of myths, as it happens. Hearts, Minds, and Souls, by John Anstie, considers the theme from a socio-political framework, considering societies need to control as one of many elements in shaping science, culture, and religion through politics.

The issue has much more to offer— fiction by Joseph Hesch and lots of poetry by Jamie Dedes, Renée Espiru, Priscilla Galasso, Terri Muuss, and Phillip T. Stevens. The more light section has three more poems that are not directly related to this month’s theme, but we wanted to share with our readers at this time.

Michael Dickel
Associate Editor


“It is frequently the tragedy of the great artist, as it is of the great scientist, that he frightens the ordinary man.” Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977), American anthropologist, educator, philosopher, and natural science writer

This issue of The BeZine is dedicated to scientists the world over, especially those who are conscientiously fighting to preserve this earth, its people, and scientific integrity. Throughout history scientists have met with the same skepticism they face in some quarters today. They were sometimes misunderstood and crudely punished. Alan Turing comes to mind first, cruelly treated after being of enormous service to his country.

I think of  Rhazes (865-925), a forward-looking medical scientist who wrote a compendium of all that was known about medicine in his time.  He was beaten over the head with his book, went blind and was unable to continue his work. Galileo’s (1564-1642) insight and honesty was labeled heresy. Albert Einstein’s (1879-1955) books were burned. Henry Oldenburg (1619-1677) was suspected of spying when he sought to acquire and publish worthy works by people outside his own country.

The tensions between ignorance and cognoscence continue today. So much so that in my country scientists are planning an Earth Day march on Washington to protest the current regime’s dismantling of climate protections. Members of many scientific and research groups are scrambling to archive government data they believe could be in jeopardy under this new regime.

Many thanks this month to Michael Dickel for having my back on this issue and for his distinguished contributions. Thanks also to all our supporters – especially Terri Stewart, Charlie Martin, Chrysty Darby Hendrick, Ruth Jewel, Lana Phillips, Sharon Frye, Silva Merjanian, M. Zane McCllelan and Inger Morgan and to this month’s contributors (not in any particular order) Priscilla Galasso, Corina Ravenscraft, Joe Hesch, Michael Watson, Naomi Baltuck,  John Anstie, James R. Cowles, Terri Muuss and Pat Leighton. All are valued as we pursue this small effort in the name of peace and understanding.

New to our pages this month is Phillip T. Stevens. Phillip tells me he spent most of the eighties and nineties as a community and arts activist. To pay his bills he taught writing and visual design to community college students and at-risk youth for the Texas Youth Commission. He published four novels, two volumes of poetry and academic papers (including a series of articles on the role of metaphoric thinking in the development of scientific theory and religious belief for the International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society). Phillip lives with his wife Carol in Oak Hill, Texas, where they rescue abandoned cats for Austin Siamese Rescue.

And here we are. Thanks to the efforts of many, we leave the March issue in your hands. Enjoy and …

Be inspired. Be creative. Be peace. Be …

On behalf of the Bardo Group Beguines
and in the spirit of love and community,
Jamie Dedes, Managing Editor


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Science in Culture, Politics and Religion

To Read this issue of The BeZine

  • Click HERE to read the entire magazine by scrolling. (I place it in  backwards though, so you’ll be starting at the end and moving forward.  Sorry about that.  Just getting this down. J.D.), or
  • You can read each piece individually by clicking the links the below.

BeAttitudes

The Speed of Light Poem, Michael Dickel

Unreality, John Anstie

Lead Features

That Was Then, This Is Now, Naomi Baltuck
Some Scientific Snippets, Corina Ravenscraft
A Life, Michael Watson
Still Phoning ET, James R. Cowles
Myths of Eden and Science, Phillip T. Stevens

Hearts, Minds and Souls, John Anstie

Fiction

Shills Like White Elephants,  Joseph Hesch

Poetry

The Return of Primordial Night, Jamie Dedes
Butterfly Effect, Michael Dickel
The Road Leads Away and Back, Renee Espiru
Brain Tools, Priscilla Galasso
Landscape with rice, Patricia Leighton
and the word was, Terri Muuss
Two Excerpts from “Poems, Parables and Prayers”, Phillip T. Stevens

More Light

Once Upon a Sea Green Day, Jamie Dedes
Purim Fibonacci, Michael Dickel
How Can It Be, Ann Emerson
What I Can Say, Terri Muss
Spread of Fear, Carolyn O’Connell


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Posted in General Interest, TheBeZine

The BeZine, Vol. 3, Issue 5, February 2017, Overcoming Hate

think how wonderful when all the registries are
…..thrown out with the trash
so that the children of the poor come out ahead
some half-pint future president
on the street the man who stopped you with his
…..pockets inside out
is loading you with fruits & sweets is kissing you
a hero who can send a message into every little head
…..the thought of some enchanted evening
the reciprocal tyranny of fathers & of sons is over
& the need or love grows always stronger makes the
…..master builder stretch the promenades into the
…..farthest outskirts
which is freedom yes & which is love

excerpt from Tyranny or Love by Vítêzlav Nezval in Atilyrik & Other Poems

Love can be a kind of tyranny but hate tyrannizes the hated and the hateful and everyone around them. My godmother used to say that it is harder to hold onto hate than to let go in love.  How do we overcome the hate in ourselves?

Michael Dickel comes to the subject by exploring the biblical story of Yaakov (Jacob) wrestling with himself and God.

“To overcome hate, we must wrestle with our own soul (tendencies toward harsh judgments, anger, hate—that is, wrestle with our own fears and demons) and with God …” Michael Dickel

Naomi explores all the “H” words, some positive and some not so much, including hate and arriving at like-Hearted. She gives us balance. Corina Ravenscraft explores how hate manifests and Priscilla Galasso comes to it from the position of personal growth. She says:

“The more I work with my own feelings and come to understand myself, the more I can begin to understand others. When I see someone who is angry and hateful, I understand that he is suffering.”

The times are challenging us to explore our emotions and how we react to the encroachment by some elements into the domain of compassion, freedom and justice. We see this expressed in Mark Heathcote’s poem, which reminds us that strong emotion needs fuel, and in Michael Dickel’s Hate Is Not the Opposite of Love and my own Time for the Temple Whores To Sleep With Insanity.

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”  Elie Wiesel

The core issues it turns out are indifference and fear. George Orwell reminds us of what we have to fear if we are not vigilant and proactive. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King reminds us that “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out fear: only love can do that.”  Love is freedom, the absence of tyranny, and the more we love, the more we are able to love.

In the spirit of Peace, Love and Community
and on behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines,
Jamie Dedes
Managing Editor


To read this issue of TheBeZine

  • Click HERE to scroll through and read the entire magazine.
  • Or, you can read each piece individually by clicking the links in the Table of Contents below.  Enjoy!

Table of Contents

BeAttitude

“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” George Orwell, 1984

The Animals Are Running the Farm, Jamie Dedes

Overcoming Hate

Lead Features

Your Attention, Please, Corina Ravenscraft
The “H” Word, Naomi Baltuck
Transcending Anger, Power and Fear, Priscilla Galasso
Hate Is Not the Opposite of Love, Michael Dickel

Poetry

Silencing the Lambs, John Anstie
Time for the Temple Whores to Sleep with Insanity, Jamie Dedes
Wrestling with God, two poems, Michael Dickel
Five Glosses from Imaginary Exegesis, Michael Dickel
Deconstruction, Michael Dickel
Flying without dice, Michael Dickel
I remember dreaming, Michael Dickel
Hate, it is a termite mound, Mark Heathcote

– End – 

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Posted in General Interest, The BeZine, The BeZine Table of Contents

THE BeZINE, Jan. 2017, Vol. 3, Issue 4 – Resist

“When injustice becomes law, nonviolent resistance becomes duty.” Petra Kelly (1947-1992), co-founder of the German Green Party (1979) at a rally in Nuremberg (1983).

15253540_10153871288971612_1728300874287005039_nOur theme this month is Resist! We chose it to coincide with a protest today that was initiated by poets Alan Kaufman and Michael Rothenberg. Thanks to Alan and Michael, poets across the United States will gather on the steps of their local city halls and take their stand against the backward values that the U.S. President Elect represents. PEN America also sponsored an event today at the New York City Public Library and thanks to them protests are happening today in ninety U.S. cities and some cities outside the States.

As is our tradition at The BeZine, voices in protest are not limited to the U.S.

What are we trying to accomplish by protesting? “Dump Trump” is a rallying cry for some but it’s unlikely to happen, at least in the short-term.

We think what makes sense and what people want to focus on is creating awareness and building bridges, not walls. We want to stand in solidarity against scapegoating and the sort of rhetoric that fuels misunderstanding, hate and violence. We stand in support of the rule of law, civil rights and human rights. We want to keep the feet of the power elites to the fire and demand accountability.

Michael Rothenberg and Alan Kaufman have written that with “the Fourth Estate under siege it is now up to writers, poets, artists and musicians to join in and put our shoulders to the wheel.…There is no Post-Truth Era for the world of [the arts].” And here we are …

It takes courage to speak out, but speak out we must and today we bring you a collection that we hope will hearten you, if only by virtue of seeing just how many people share your values. There is hope in that.

It begins, with one brave enough to appear.
One idea, one voice in an asphalt void.
Oligarchs try to crush all dissension with fear.
Undaunted, the idea will not be destroyed,
Shares roots with others; reassures, “I’m still here.”  —Corina Ravenscraft

In this issue, Michael Watson, Priscilla Galasso, and Naomi Baltuck gift us with BeAttitudes that are measured, gain their wisdom from history and the arts, and speak to the long-term and to the preservation of democratic values.

“There’s a striking parallel between our current social order and that of the Middle Ages, in which the wealthy ruling class acted and peasants endured.”  — warns Naomi Baltuck in Boots on the Ground

Thanks to Michael Dickel we offer a fine collection of protest music and an apologia for activist poetry.  Zena Hagerty of HamiltonSeen brings us the life of Joe Hill, labor activist and song writer.  In The Push, from Zena and her business partner, Cody Lanktree, we learn how Hamilton—the fourth largest city in Canada—courageously pushed back against abuses and lack of transparency in their city government.  We have a flash fiction piece from poet and writer, Joe Hesch.

This month’s poetry collection is a rather extraordinary gift from poets who are well-established. They are published here alongside emerging poets we want to support and encourage. Together the poems serve to frame the current challenges we face in our world.

New to our pages this month (presented in no special order) are Greg Ruud, Russ Green, Joy Harjo, Alan Kaufman and our featured poet, Reuben Woolley. We are delighted to welcome Dianne Turner back.

Enjoy the Zine and do Resist! This is the moment.
—Jamie Dedes, Managing Editor

My first contact with The BeZine came when Managing Editor Jamie Dedes wanted to review my book of poems, War Surrounds Us, and to interview me. Somehow, from there I became one of the many “core” writers who contribute to The BeZine community—and, because I am involved with 100-Thousand Poets for Change (100TPC), I ended up taking some responsibility for our annual live 100TPC online event. Now I have a nice title, Contributing Editor. As one of the core writers, and a contributing editor, I suggested the theme Resist! for this issue to coincide with the protest readings my friends Michael Rothenberg and Alan Kaufman have instigated.

I have been active in peace and anti-racism movements for years. I recall when I first heard about the Women’s Movement, as a high school student planning a student protest against the Viet Nam War. My academic work relates to violence and masculinity (see my essay, The Warm Blanket of Silence, in this issue).

However, this autumn marks, for me, one of the darkest periods in my memory. The rising influence of white supremacy (sic) movements, blatant misogyny, unapologetic homophobia, open anti-Semitism (from the right and the left), and sword-rattling (fake?) machismo in this last U.S. election—manifested openly and through “dog-whistles” by the President Elect, his supporters, and his advisors—recall the period before WWII. And not just in 1930s Germany—fascism was popular in the U.S. and much of Europe before the war, including a notorious “Fascist Plot,” also called “The White House Coup,” in 1933. Now the industrialists will have The White House—they don’t need a coup. The probable influence of Russia on our elections (not to mention the FBI) comes straight from 1950s nightmares. These dark shadows oppress my mood and sap my energy.

The only solution I know is to Resist! To stand with others and to say, loudly, “No!

Jamie has expressed the idea of resistance positively above. And I agree with her. Resistance must be positive, but also strong. It should be non-violent (until violence becomes a necessary and last-resort defense). And it must be embedded in all that we do. My own poetry, art, music, teaching, and life should help awaken, empower, and facilitate resistance to the hate, indifference, and greed that permeate our political culture (a lofty goal I expect I will fail in, even as I attempt to achieve it). I hope to do so in ways that welcome dialogue and allow for diverse responses and approaches across a wide range of contexts. However, I will not “give him a chance” to promulgate hate, strip the environment, legislate for racism or hate, or further oppress those under the heal of the capitalist boot. I resist.

I resist the numbness.

I find energy in resistance.

I resist!
—Michael Dickel, Contributing Editor

Link HERE

to scroll through the entire zine
If you read something you’d like to share, just click on its title in the header to get the URL for a specific piece.

IN A NUTSHELL

Let Us, a poem by Alan Kaufman
letting my freak flag fly, a poem by Charles W. Martin
Scraggly Dandelion in a Concrete Crack, a poem by Corina Ravenscraft

BeATTITUDES

The Act of “Survivance”, Michael Watson
Practising Freedom of Choice, Priscilla Galasso
Boots on the Ground, Naomi Baltuck
Werewolves—the Hounds of Hate, Michael Dickel

MUSIC

I ain’t no millionaire’s son, Michael Dickel
Democracy is Coming to the U.S.A., Michael Dickel

DOCUMENTARY FILM

One Wobblie’s Life: Joe Hill, Labor Activist and Songwriter, Zena Hagerty with Jamie Dedes
“The Push” or how the eleventh largest city in Canada is pushing back, Zena Hagerty and Cody Lanktree

FEATURE ARTICLES

In Defense of Activist Poetry, Michael Dickel
Silence i—Warm Blanket in Silence, Michael Dickel
Silence ii—Sound of Silence, Michael Dickel

Writer’s Block: Doubt, Fear and Heartbreak, Jamie Dedes

FICTION

The Nature of the Beast, Joseph Hesch

FEATURED POET: Ruben Woolley

Congratulations to UK poet Reuben Woolley for the distinction of an invitation to The Fourth International Festival of Poetry in Marrakesh. All expenses are paid for by the festival organizers but the airfair. Just like the rest of us who earn our bread with poetry, Reuben’s purse is a bit light. Reuben has set up a Go Fund Me page to raise the money for airfare HERE.

natural killers, Reuben Woolley
the uncertainty of bright maps, Reuben Woolley
shade talking, Reuben Woolley
venus of coventry, Reuben Woolley
barely anywhere in time, Reuben Woolley
darker application, Reuben Woolley

POETRY

Deconstruction, Michael Dickel
So Thirsty, Michael Dickel
Circulating Language Manfesto, Michael Dickel

Dovetailed, Renee Espiru

Fire Song, Russ Green

Fear Poem, Joy Harjo

The Taste of Cyanide, Mark Heathcote

The Oak, the Man and the Mighty Weed, Joseph Hesch

Into the Unknown Flee, M. Zane McCllelan
War Lore, M. Zane McCllelan
This Is Not a Lullaby, M. Zane McCllelan

Of Seas, Bicycles and Whiskey, Liliana Negoi
no rain, Liliana Negoi
congregrating war, Liliana Negoi
faulty darwinism, Liliana Negoi

Noblesse Oblige, Carolyn O’Connell

Now That Anything Can Happen, Greg Ruud
Righteous Anger, Greg Ruud

Goat Herders, Dianne Turner

Waiting, Lynn White
Separate Development, Lynn White

Leaving Aleppo, Peter Wilkin

In close:

Here and Hereafter, Jamie Dedes

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Practising Freedom of Choice

To The States, or any one of them, or any city of The States, Resist much, obey little;
Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved;

Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city, of this earth, ever afterward resumes its liberty.”   —Walt Whitman

James Hepworth and Gregory McNamee chose these imperative words from Whitman’s writing for the title of a book they put together on writer and radical environmental activist Ed Abbey. I think of Ed in the desert wilderness of Utah’s Canyonlands. He is choosing to explore without roads, without a vehicle, without expensive equipment. He is on foot. He has matches, a knife, and boots. He drinks from the river. He walks in the cool of the night. He gathers sticks and makes a fire. He cooks a fish from the river. He is free. He is central to his existence, no other. I met some of his friends at the Wilderness 50 Conference in Albuquerque in 2014. They were a spirited bunch and passionate about the value of wild places, places without systems, where humans are visitors only and do not dominate the landscape. These wilderness advocates represent a resistance movement that truly inspires me.

wildernessThe freedom to choose how you will act is basic autonomy. To relinquish that choice is enslavement. However, exercising that choice need not be violent or ego-driven. I believe it is possible to act freely while maintaining a posture of love and openness. I admire the practice of Thich Nhat Hahn, a Buddhist monk who engages in political activism in a peaceful and mindful manner. The first step to acting in freedom is awareness. Being aware of the present moment includes being aware of the suffering inherent in a situation, of the emotions that all parties bring to bear. It also includes being aware of the values you wish to embody. The Eight-Fold Path describes values to consider: right view, right aspiration, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.  Determining to walk this path while resisting temptation and influence in other directions is indeed a form of activism.

I am wary of the pressures that systems in this country employ to urge compliance.  I don’t want to see my freedom of choice reduced to “paper or plastic?”, as George Carlin suggests.  At the same time, I recognize that freedom requires responsibility. If I make my choices, I must abide by the consequences. Again, I think of Ed in the wilderness, happily accepting the dangers along with the adventure, feeling completely alive. There is risk involved in living in freedom and an opportunity to respond in community to the outcomes of those risks. That I will be wise enough to respond with compassion and not restriction is my hope. I cannot say that I practiced that as a parent raising four children, though!  I do know the urge to stifle the free exploration of a youngster. I am not convinced that it is the best practice for the spirit of either parent or child.

May we all have the courage to resist enslavement, the compassion to encourage freedom, the awareness to recognize the choices before us, and the will to act in love.  

© Priscilla Galasso

Armageddon and The Art of French Cooking

“Truth is ugly. We possess art lest we perish of the truth.” – Nietzsche

Civilization kills. We are living in apocalyptic times. The Anthropocene is here; humans are dominating and destroying the Earth. Like all civilizations in history, though, ours will fall back into the dust, and Earth will absorb it in some fashion. I get angry with humans because of this. Our arrogance and hubris and stupidity is truly abhorrent. I would wash my hands from all association with my species if I could, but for two things: music and food. I am willing to forgive everything for Puccini and Marcona almonds sauteed in butter and thyme.

Perhaps it is nothing but hedonism to feel that my pleasure in a fine meal at La Reve on Tuesday might bring me back from the brink of utter despair. The “Holiday Train” event in the village late that afternoon had created horrific traffic congestion with black-clad pedestrians pushing strollers into the dark streets while some pop Christmas frenzy blared over a loudspeaker. I felt truly Scroogeish; humans are complete humbug. But then the ambiance of a Parisian bistro — chattering guests and tremulous accordion melodies — and the buttery oak in the Chardonnay spread its warmth over that cold, post-Truth fear surrounding my heart. I asked Irene, our Asian-American server, about how the chef prepared the pumpkin soup. We talked about how roasting brings out the deeper flavors of vegetables and stock bones and what items on the menu were gluten-free. By the time I had savored my way through triple-cream brie, salmon, lamb and chocolate caramel, I was ready to admit atonement of the human race was possible.

thanksgiving-sideboard

The next day, however, my thoughts turned dark again. How could I justify the expense of that meal, even though almost half of the cost to me was covered by a gift certificate? How had the animals invested in that meal been treated? How far had the ingredients traveled on fossil fuels to get to my plate? My awareness of suffering may have been dulled for a time, but it was not erased. I may have been treated quite well, but was I healed?

Healing. In Western culture, it’s about fixing pathology. In Eastern culture, it’s about making whole. Awareness is about opening up to understand the whole, the complete Oneness of the Universe. “Life is suffering” is the first noble Truth in Buddhism. Suffering is in the Oneness. Arising from the awareness of suffering are two responses (at least): Fear and Compassion.buddha

I experience my fear for the human race and my compassion for it as well, blended contrapuntally. To recognize that only as thoughts criss-crossing my brain might drive me mad. To see that reflected in a complex pairing of wine and cheese or in the first act duet of Mimi and Rudolfo in La Boheme saves me from perishing from the ugly truth. I will never comprehend the Truth, although I live it every day. Making, enjoying, or experiencing Art is as close as I may ever come to holding the Whole in my heart. I believe that those who practice Meditation seek to do the same, while sparing the harm caused in producing Art.

May we all find a way to happiness, a way not to perish from the Truth, a way to be at peace with the Whole.

arte

© text and photos, Priscilla Galasso

Posted in General Interest, The BeZine

DECEMBER 15, 2016, VOL. 3, ISSUE 3, THE HEALING POWER OF THE ARTS

“Poetry finds you when you are broken, insists on taking you into its fold, puts your pieces together and then you never leave.” Reena Prasad

Long before we had libraries teeming with medical and psychiatric tomes, we had cave paintings, carved images, storytelling, song, musical instruments and dance. The power of artistic expression to transform both creator and consumer was assumed.

The arts bear witness to sacred space, to the spontaneous dance between the conscious and the unconscious, to the existence of a symbolic realm. It is from these liminal places that our truest art and our healing words, visions, sounds and movement are born. Through art we experience a shamanic-like world that is beyond the consensual one, a world where each spirit is free to find its own core truth.

Hence, this month, we have: a poet (Reena Prasad) finding sanctuary and rebirth by reading and writing poetry: a singer/musician/poet (John Anstie) connecting with his own joy and the people with whom he collaborates; and Corina Ravenscraft’s interview with a soldier suffering from PTSD and finding relief in building and painting hundreds of miniature figurines.

Italian journalist, Mendes Biondo, brings us an interview with and three poems by Poemedic Deborah Alma, who prescribes “emergency poetry.” Our resident storyteller Naomi Baltuck offers us a PhotoStory that suggests just how empowering it is to tell our own stories. It is an excerpt from her book Apples From Heaven: Multicultural Folk Tales About Stories and Storytellers.  Michael Watson takes us for an intriguing peek into toy theatre/object theatre performance as therapy.

Our BeAttitude this month is by Priscilla Galasso, who tells it like it is, as she always does, a critical must-read.

You’ll find the poetry ranges from catharsis to confirmation. We feature the work of three emerging poets: M. Zane McClellan, new to our pages; Inger Morgan, who shares her poem, the splendor of blue, in Swedish and English and debuted last month; and Mark Heathcote, whose work has graced several issues.  Be sure to encourage them your “Likes” and comments.

The accomplished Reena Prasad who debuted with us last month is back with two poems.  Her stunningly beautiful essay Sanctuary is written from the perspective of the poet, but I’m sure other art forms offer the same potential for comfort and transformation to their own devotees.

We’re pleased to treat you to the work of regular favorites:  contributing writers Charlie Martin and Lily Negoi and guest writers Renee Espiru and Carolyn O’Connell.

We have a special guest poet this month, Myra Schneider, who has been featured in these pages before.  Myra is most well-known in the UK where – on turning 70 this year – she celebrated both her birthday and the publication of her fourteenth collection, Persephone in Finsbury Park. She teaches at Poetry School and is a consultant to Second Light Network.

THE JANUARY ISSUE

In January, our topic is Resist. We are piggy-backing on Michael Rothenberg’s and Alan Kaufman’s call to American poets to resist the incoming president.  Our effort is not restricted to poetry or to the United States. We’re doing a global call for submissions that counter policies – no matter what country – which undermine equity, foster poverty, encourage elitism, hate and scapegoating … all those things that pit people against people, putting many people at risk of disease, homelessness, starvation and murder. Please read the submission guidelines first. Send your work to bardogroup@gmail.com. American-Isreali poet and contributing editor to The BeZine,  Michael Dickel, and I will collaborate on the production of the January issue.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM ALL OF US AT THE BeZINE!

We represent the beautiful and great wealth of the world’s wisdom traditions, nationalities, races, disabled and LBGTQ.

The historic experience of our Jewish friends, the plight of our Palestinian friends, the suffering of our Syrian brothers and sisters and others who are or have been victims of social and economic injustice and human rights violations informs our effort. We know that lines must be drawn, that silence is not an option, and that scapegoating can only lead to pain. Having said that, we are  “prisoners of hope*,” and our hope is founded on our faith in you and on the foundation of those values we hold in common.

14720398_1514186551925651_1821171829511947280_n

In the spirit of community and
on behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines,
Jamie Dedes
Founding and Managing Editor

* Rev. Doctor William J. Barber
Illustration source unknown: if it’s yours, please let me know. I’ll take it down or credit as you prefer.

Bios of Contributing Editors and Writers

Bios of Guest Contributors

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Link HERE to read The BeZine My apologies: I had some technical challenges and the Zine lays out in reverse order. I know what the problem is and the next issue will be fine. I recommend that you scoot to the end and move forward to read it in the correct order. Thank you! J.D.

THE HEALING POWER OF THE ARTS

BeAttitude

Armageddon and The Art of French Cooking, Priscilla Galasso

Essay

Sanctuary, Reena Prasad

Feature Articles

Power of the Word, Carolyn OConnell
Aftermath, Michael Watson
Piece by Painted Piece, Corina Ravenscraft
The Healing Adventures of Deborah Alma, Poemedic, Mendes Biondo
Singing for the Love of It, John Anstie
Don’t Confuse Hunger for Greed, the poems of Ruth Stone, Jamie Dedes

PhotoStory

Telling It To the Walls, Naomi Baltuck

Poetry

Special Guest Poet

Mahler’s Ninth, Myra Schneider

Poems

Dark over Light Earth / Violet and Yellow in Rose,Laura Braverman
Wabi Sabi, Jamie Dedes
More Than a Gift, Renee Espiru
The Artist’s Restorative, Mark Heathcote
a poet’s prescription, Charles W. Martin
Laying on of Hands, M. Zane McClellan
Birthing to Earthing, M. Zane McClellan
Writing to Stay Alive, Reena Prasad
The World in the Cracks, Reena Prasad

MORE LIGHT

Poetry

Special Guest Poet

The Silence in the Garden, Myra Schneider

Poems

the splendor in blue, Inger Morgan
december mail, Liliana Negoi
the was of the will be, Liliana Negoi
water, Liliana Negoi

CONNECT WITH US
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Posted in General Interest

November 2016, Vol.3/Issue 2, Loving Kindness

November 15, 2016

later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?
it answered
everywhere
everywhere
everywhere.”
excerpt “what they did yesterday afternoon” by Warsan Shire

In our themed section this month our writers explore acts of kindness that are motivated by love (respect) as expressed to neighbors, to self and for the peoples of the world and the environment.

London-based Somali writer Warsan Shire’s poem above makes a powerful statement about the world today. Our writers define some of the issues, express their pain and encourage right action. They move from a hip-hop poem calling us to unity, collaboration and a sense of self-worth to an experimental expression of sadness and disillusionment in the aftermath of a mean-spirited presidential campaign and the inclusion of an impassioned piece asking us to stand against moral injustice and not use our cultural differences as an excuse to hate.

You’ll find a stunningly beautiful photo-story, a short story, some short articles along with a wealth of poetry. You’ll see a few emerging writers whose values are appreciated and who need our encouragement. They stand alongside many polished professionals whose work will take your breathe away. You’re sure to be delighted with the poems in our More Light section which includes a wonderful blues poem – a villanelle – riffing on the Robert Johnson lyric “blues walkin’ like a man.”

THE TALENT IN THIS ISSUE

Our old friend, Marilynn Mair, the queen of mandolin, is back and so is Liliana Negoi after a hiatus. They were much missed. This month we are pleased to feature again Aprilia Zank, Mendes Benido, Kimberly Wilhelmna Floria, Renee Espiru, and Carolyn O’Connell.

New to our pages are: Kinga Fabo (poems in English and Hungarian), Inger Morgan, LaMont Anthony Wright (a.k.a. Graffiti Bleu), Ruth Hill, Mark Andrew Heathcote and Reena Presad. Please welcome them with “Likes” and comments.

From our stellar core team we have Naomi Baltuck, Michael Dickel, Priscilla Galasso, Joe Hesch, Corina Ravenscraft and Lana Phillips.

Thank you all for your generosity and for your commitment to our shared mission.

Check out bios in page links down below the Zine.

NEWS

Now you can read The BeZine by clicking on one link.You’ll be able to scroll through all the features.  When you get to “older posts,”  just click on it to view the rest of the magazine. No more need to go back-and-forth to the Table of Contents.  There are no longer tacky WordPress ads to distract and annoy us. Note also our new url: thebezine.com.

Regular readers will have noted our new look and a new style. I opted for something that would showcase each feature and that is simple and uncluttered. You can “Like” easily and if you click on featured title, you can leave a comment. If you want to link a piece to your blog, website or  Facebook, just click on the title and copy and paste the url. Easy peasy.

We’re still flying with WordPress, though over the course of a year I’ve experimented – as time, energy and finances allowed – with a variety of options including virtual flip books.  I also tested  different WordPress themes, which I have used for some issues. I’ve appreciated the evals some of you gave me.  Thank you! You know who you are and I love that you care. I factored in your comments as I explored the remarkable number of options available for eZines today. Special thanks to Priscilla Galasso who often cleans up after my dyslexia.

In the spirit of Love and Community and on behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines,

Jamie Dedes, Managing Editor

Volume 3/Issue 1, Loving Kindness

Link HERE to read The BeZine

Theme Features

BeAttitudes

Godbody, LaMont Anthony Wright
Hate is not the opposite of Love, Michael Dickel
I Believe in a Higher Power, Kimberly Wilhelmna Floria

Features

A Little Kindness, Corina Ravescraft
Meeting My Neighbor, Priscilla Galasso
Another Kind of Charity, Mendes Biondo

PhotoStory

Resistance is Not Futile, Naomi Baltuck

Fiction

A More Perfect Union, Joseph Hesch

Poetry

Seeds of Love, Reena Presad
Mea Culpa, Inger Morgan
Love Is, Carolyn O’Connell
The Nature of Metta, Renee Espiru
Unconditional Love, Mark Andrew Heathcote
Wild, Ruth Hill
Chaos in a Time of Wildfire, Lana Phillips

More Light

blues walking like a woman, Marilynn Mair
Isadora Duncan Dancing, Kinga Fabo
Transfiguration of the Word, Kinga Fabo
Poison, Kinga Fabo
No filigree angels, Aprilia Zank
Love on the Wall, Carolyn O’Connell
call me, Liliana Negoi
in time, Liliana Negoi

CONNECT WITH US
Daily Spiritual Practice: Beguine Again, a community of Like-Minded People

Facebook, The Bardo Group Beguines

Twitter, The Bardo Group Beguines

Meeting My Neighbor

gate

My new next-door neighbor is aging and physically challenged, although he’s probably around my age. He walks with a limp, speaks slowly and wears a hearing aid. He gets around our 56-acre property on an electric golf cart. He also wears a camouflage cap, hunts, and works on his prized stock car engine in the garage. I’ve met him on just a few occasions. The last time was during the summer when the Conservation Foundation held a meeting at his home. He told us that his dog, Reggie, was also hard of hearing and was concerned when one of the guests let the dog out in the process of coming in to the meeting.

After a week of settling in to our new home to the south of his, it was time to pay a visit, introduce my partner Steve, and discuss things like garbage pick-up and snow removal. Dave met us at the door and led us to the living room. The dog bed was empty. Dave sat down in his recliner facing the blank TV. An Elton John tune from the 70s played on the radio.

“Where’s Reggie?” I asked.
“Reggie died…on the sixth…of September.”
I dropped to my knees on the carpet in front of Dave’s chair so that I could look him in the eye. He looked like he might begin to cry.
“Oh, Dave! I am so sorry!”
Dave began to talk, haltingly at first. He told the story of how he noticed changes in his beloved companion, of decisions he had to make, and how his life had been altered. I listened and kept eye contact. The conversation changed to the present and more mundane matters, and I got up off the floor. Dave asked us to sit down on his couch.
“Don’t worry, I vacuumed the dog hair off the seat already.”

We visited for another half hour. I saw Dave laugh for the first time. And smile, and stretch, and tell jokes. We negotiated an agreement about the garbage, and he recommended a good Toyota mechanic. On the way out, I noticed a paw print plaque on a box with Reggie’s name on it.
“Oh, did you get that from the vet? My daughter got one for our cats when they passed.”
“Yeah…”
I told him I was sorry again and that we’d be seeing him around.

I have never had a dog.

I don’t remember thinking about dropping to my knees in grief at the news of Reggie’s death. I just did. I needed to look in Dave’s eyes as he spoke. Grief is a familiar friend, even if Dave was not yet.

I have a Bernie bumper sticker on my car.

I don’t know how Dave votes, and I was surprised that Wisconsin went to Trump. Now that I live in a rural community and not in Milwaukee, I see lots of folks who look like Dave.

I am a stranger here.

I work here on behalf of the land. I came to live here so that I can know it better. I am just beginning to know the people who have worked and lived here before me. I don’t know how well I’ll fit in with them, but I am very interested in seeing the adventure unfold.

I want to show loving-kindness wherever I go. This is my opportunity: this place, this day.

(from Wildmind Buddhist Meditation:
Metta is friendliness, consideration, kindness, generosity.
Metta is the basis for compassion. When our Metta meets another’s suffering, then our Metta transforms into compassion.)

 © Priscilla Galasso

Posted in 100,000 Poets, Musicians, Artists and Activists for Change

100TPC — 2016

Welcome to The BeZine’s online,
virtual 100,000 Poets for Change event!

This past week, an international aid convoy in Syria was attacked with devastating results, during a ceasefire. Bombs went off, as usual, in Iraq. They also went off in New Jersey and New York. There were terrorist knife attacks in Jerusalem. And knife attacks also in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Police shot (at least) two unarmed African-Americans in the United States. Police shot “terror suspects” in Israel. Iran arrested dissidents. China gave a dissident’s attorney a 12-year sentence.

Climate change has reduced the arctic ice sheets at record levels, this summer just ended. The Fertile Crescent, where Western civilization began, has suffered such a devastating drought that farmers have fled it for years now—a contributing cause to the Syrian civil war and the refugee crisis. The hardened, drought-stricken soil in the region, broken up by heavy war-machinery, artillery shelling, and bombs, has turned into dust that the wind picks up—a contributing cause of record dust storms throughout the region.

It is time for global change

For the past six years, 100,000 Poets for Change (100TPC) has inspired and supported events on a Saturday in September. This year, there are over 550 events scheduled throughout the world. This blog/zine is one of them. The goal is for poets (artists, musicians, actors, even mimes) to band together and perform / exhibit their work in a call to change the world for the better.

The 100TPC themes are peace, sustainability, and social justice. The September 2016 issue of The BeZine, edited by Priscilla Galasso and Steve Wiencek, focuses on environmental justice. This focus relates to social justice and sustainability, but is a necessary part of obtaining peace.

If we still have poverty and homelessness, what is sustained other than inequality? And, without social justice and a sustainable environment, could there be peace? Could peace be maintained without both social and environmental justice alongside environmental and economic sustainability?

Share your work here, today, as part of our 100TPC online event—help us create a space for change. As in past years, the event will be archived and made available later on The BeZine’s website and will also be archived at Standford University in California.

Here’s how to post your work

For today’s online event, our choice is not to put one of the three themes—peace, sustainability, and social justice—above the others, but to recognize that all of these three necessary areas of change interrelate in complex ways.

We invite you to participate. Share your writing, art, music, videos, thoughts that relate to these themes on our website today.

It’s actually easy to do.

  • Click on Mr. Linky below and follow instructions for posting a link to a post on your blog:

  • You can also post a link or writing directly into the comments below!
Come back during the day

Please return often today (Sept. 24, 2016) to read what others have posted, follow links, like, and leave comments—and to see and reply to what others have commented on your own posts and links. We would love to see an active dialogue!

Posted in The BeZine, The BeZine Table of Contents

THE BeZINE, Vol.2, Issue 12, Environment/Environmental Justice

September 15, 2016

The Environment is a complex array of interconnections and interbeing (as Thich Nhat Hahn would say). Steve & I have various metaphors for this. He likes to refer to “his bowling pins”. He imagines setting up a toy set of pins on a lawn and bowling at them. When they scatter, you set them back up exactly where they landed and bowl again. This takes you all over the neighborhood in endless permutations. I think of “trophic cascades”, changes in an ecosystem that originate at an extinction or other dramatic altering of balance, similar perhaps to “the domino effect” but less linear. However you try to wrap your brain around it, the nature of Life on this planet is intricate and incomprehensible. We are wise to approach it with the utmost humility. Because we are intrinsically involved, however, we must not fear to engage. We are already immersed. We might as well learn to float, swim or drown with awareness. With that understanding, we invited our contributors to share their perspectives from where they are. And there are many other currents besides. Let me just mention a few for further research:

Environmental Law – there are some exciting changes emerging in the championing of the Rights of Nature in legal systems. Corporations have legal protection and rights as individuals in many countries, while communities and natural entities (bodies of water, land, animals, etc.) do not. The ability to stand up against the interests of a Corporation and say, “We don’t care if you want this resource. You can’t have it!” is an idea that can be incorporated into law. Thomas Linzey of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) is working to make that happen. Watch his keynote address to the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) HERE.

Deep Ecology/Environmental Philosophy – Deep ecologists are a group of philosophers who question the anthropocentrism embedded in the logic and ethics of Western culture. Arne Naess is the “Father of Deep Ecology”. Peter Singer is another important philosopher who spearheaded the discussion about the ethical treatment of animals in the early 70s. These philosophers are everything from temperate reformers (Aldo Leopold and Wendell Berry) to anti-civilizationists (Derrick Jensen).

Habitat/Wildlife/Green Corridors – where human interference has fragmented the landscape, other species suffer huge losses. Establishing connected corridors of undisturbed terrain help to shift the paradigm from domination to coexistence. The American Prairie Reserve has a habitat base of more than 353,000 acres. Read the story of this amazing management project HERE.

Organic Farming – the proliferation of large factory farms that employ pesticides, herbicides, hormones and other chemicals while dumping huge amounts of toxic waste on the land has significantly impacted the health of the planet. Soil health, human health, pollinator health – so many things are involved here. Returning to methods of food production that are more locally-scaled and less dependent on chemicals is a natural remedy, but must be radically and quickly implemented to turn degradation around. Support organic farming in your area!

And now, we proudly introduce our Table of Contents,
Priscilla Galasso (scillagrace) with Steve Wiencek

Editorial Notes

How Will I Behave Here?, Priscilla Galasso, Contributing Editor
Nature…Place…Community, Steve Wiencek, Guest Editor
Cruel Legacy, Jamie Dedes, Managing Editor

Environment/Environmental Injustice

Awareness

All Things Are Connected,  Naomi Baltuck
The Power of Place, Michael Watson
The Hoopoes Are Back, Lynn White
Dawn Chorus, Lynn White
Another Kind of Beauty, Jamie Dedes
Cloud Watching, Jamie Dedes
Meditating on Ancient Oak, Carolyn O’Connell
The Wordless Mystery, Jamie Dedes
There Is Pleasure in the Pathless Wood, Gordon George Byron, Lord Byron

Action

The Victories Are Important!, Corina Ravenscraft
Regicide, Joe Hesch
Trespass, Terri Stewart
Naturally Devoted, Priscilla Galasso
Environmental Injustice,  Mark Heathcote
Soil Isn’t Sexy – Neither is War, Michael Dickel
Climate Change (poem), Michael Dickel

Extinction

Rounded With a Sleep, Part 1, James Cowles
Rounded With a Sleep, Part 2, James Cowles
For the Last Wolverine, video reading, James Dickey
Last Call, Corina Ravenscraft
Eden Revisited, Charles Martin
Black Honey Fare, Renee Espriu
Hoping It Regenerates – Again (artwork), Jerry Ingeman

CONNECT WITH US

succulents
Daily Spiritual Practice, Beguine Again

Facebook, The Bardo Group Beguines

Twitter, The Bardo Group Beguines

Access to the biographies of our core team, contributing writers and guest writers is in the blogroll where you can also find links to archived issues of The BeZine.